The beauty of Indian attire lies in its immense versatility and variety. There are many interesting and unique regional textiles and techniques, which are difficult to find anywhere else. With many such regional garments, especially regional sarees, not only are the material and the designs different, the style of wearing it is also very unique. Every region of India has its own style of wearing a saree and one of the most coveted and beautiful is the Gujarati saree draping.
The state of Gujarat is situated in the western coast of India. It has a flourishing textile trade and design industry with many gorgeous regional saree styles. One common thing for all diverse saris from this region is that they are worn in the unique Gujarati style saree draping, which is different from any other drape in India.
It is not very hard to understand how to drape Gujarati saree in the correct manner. The main distinguishing factor is that the pallu is draped to the front, rather than towards the left. This is done to hang in the back like the typical Nivi style drape, which has gradually become a common norm throughout the globe. This drape is also called the ‘siddha pallu drape’, which literally translates into the ‘straight pallu drape’ owing to the unique way pallu draping. It is done to hang down the torso’s front.
As one can see in any Gujarati saree draping video, this drape is achieved by first wrapping the saree around the waist and pleating it in the regular way. However, the pleats are tucked in to the left side, leaving the left side open. The pallu (the leftover portion of the saree worn across the torso and shoulders) is taken around the back and then over the right shoulder. Thus, the pallu, instead of going from front to back, goes from the back to the front, with the loose end of the saree placed across the torso. The pallu is generally spread across the front portion of the body, neatly pleated, and then pinned into place. Both the back and the front are completely covered, which is why this drape is considered one of the most modest ones in India.
The drape is at its best when worn with a typical Gujarati saree. In fact, most Gujarati sarees are designed to be well-suited to the unique Gujarati drape so it would be best to wear them in this way. Since this drape highlights and showcases the pallu, Gujarati sarees tend to have a broad and decorative pallu with designs thickly spread all over it.
Some of the popular Gujarati sarees, which you can easily drape in this style, include the vibrant, crinkled cotton Bandhani sarees. They are decorated with brilliant tie and dye designs followed by the rich and gorgeous Patola sarees, which are painstakingly woven with silk and gold threads. In addition to being beautiful and vibrant, Bandhani sarees, also called Lehariya sarees, are very light and comfortable. This makes them the perfect choice for festivals. Patola sarees are more in sync with special occasions like weddings. Border heavy sarees from other parts of India like Banarasi sarees, Kanjivaram sarees and Baluchari sarees would also look beautiful when draped in the Gujarati way.
Styles and Trends
When it comes to saree drapes, Gujarati saree draping styles are not necessarily the most popular ones. The nivi style of draping in which the saree is tucked around the waist and draped across the torso from front to the back with the pallu left free to hang, is the most popular and commonly used. However, when wearing a Gujarati saree, most women like to get the traditional and authentic drape to match the outfit. Moreover, there is an increased mainstream visibility of this drape due to television shows and Hindi movies showcasing Gujarati culture. This has led to many women becoming more and more interested in applying this drape even to their modern sarees, which are not remotely regional.
Many people worry about how to drape a saree in Gujarati style but mastering the drape is not the only styling factor here when dressing up in the typical Gujarati manner. The accessorizing also has to be spot on for the look to work. Heavy necklaces and pendants go splendidly well with these types of sarees along with jhumkas (Indian earrings), bangles and rings. The most popular Gujarati saree, the Bandhani saree, pairs well with oxidized jewelry sets. These have an earthy look, which creates equilibrium for the vibrancy of colors in the sari. Gold jewelry and pearl jewelry will pair well with woven silk sarees of Gujarati.
To get the right fall, it is best to pair sarees of any kind with high heel sandals.